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  • Proposed DOE budget nearly flat in New Mexico, press release, 20 Mar 2014
    Mexico Spending in DOE s Science budget line 2 of total New Mexico DOE spending is slated to fall next year by 9 At Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL which in overall spending terms is DOE s largest lab DOE spending about 92 of LANL s budget in FY2013 the most recent year for which non DOE spending is available is to be essentially flat it s down next year by just 12 1 M 0 6 Weapons Activities at LANL is projected to be essentially the same as this year s spending as is EM There are small cuts in DNN and in Science notably at the Manuel E Lujan Neutron Scattering Center where funding through the DOE Office of Science would be terminated come October 1 LANL is disappointed At Sandia National Laboratories SNL whose operating contract under Lockheed Martin has just been extended up to three more years DOE spending would increase to a total of 1 809 B primarily due to a 121 M 9 increase in Weapons Activities This increase is driven by design of the B61 12 nuclear bomb Life Extension Program LEP and design of a new fuze for the W88 nuclear warhead for the Navy A Study Group source on Capitol Hill tells us that SNL has told congressional committees that it has hired 700 people to work on the B61 12 Just in the past year SNL s nuclear weapons program has topped that of LANL s in financial terms Study Group Director Greg Mello DOE spends a great deal of money in New Mexico mostly for nuclear weapons However large this spending has not produced economic development for the state as a whole nor is it ever likely to do so There are certainly no economic growth seeds in next

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_20Mar2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • President Requests Unprecedented Spending on Nuclear Weapons Maintenance, Design, Production, press release, 4 Mar 2014
    to Staci Matlock Santa Fe New Mexican site splits for environmental management programs are given p 40 in DOE Budget Highlights Of local interest LANL cleanup funds are flat year on year at 225 M Site splits for other programs totals for each state and program details have not yet been released That is slated to occur on March 11 Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation DNN would fall 20 4 to 1 954 B in the president s request in part because the Administration proposes to place the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility MFFF an 8 B facility that is approximately two thirds completed into cold standby while DOE reevaluates plutonium disposition options Notably absent from today s budget request is any mention of the W78 W88 Life Extension Program LEP which was to be the first of three interoperable warheads in a new stockpile modernization paradigm As we noted on December 7 this LEP has been indefinitely deferred that is cancelled Neither is there any mention of a W78 LEP to replace its Air Force component Speakers at the recent annual Deterrence Summit confirmed reports we are hearing on Capitol Hill that current surveillance indicates no near term need for such a program The proposed new nuclear cruise missile warhead is now expected to go into production only in the FY25 27 timeframe The latter part of this window concurs with other reports and would be a three year delay from the Administration s plan of June 2013 Today s budget confirms prior reports that the Uranium Processing Facility UPF an 11 to 19 B facility that was to be built at the Y 12 site in Tennessee which has been under design for a decade is now to be reconfigured and down scoped There is no mention of design or construction of underground plutonium modules at Los Alamos National Laboratory LANL Some design is currently underway using leftover funds from the now cancelled Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF Upon information and belief the Nuclear Weapons Council has not endorsed design and construction of these modules as required in sections 3117 and 3123 of the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act NDAA NNSA s budget is now partly subsidized by DoD s willingness to transfer some of its own budget authority to NNSA Today s budget summary notes that DoD expects to contribute 1 44 B to NNSA in FY2016 1 60 B in 2017 1 67 B in 2018 1 70 B in FY2019 and a total of 15 51 B from 2016 to 2024 The budget summary tables also note at p 205 uncertainty about NNSA s outyear needs DOD and NNSA are reviewing NNSA s outyear requirements and these will be included in future reports to the Congress Study Group Director Greg Mello Today s budget request is a snapshot of an agency that is retrenching in multiple ways One highly touted warhead program is absent another is delayed Big construction projects are being downscaled

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_4Mar2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Congressional Study Shows Administration’s Proposed New Plutonium Warhead Factory at Los Alamos Is Unnecessary, Unadvised, press release, 27 Feb 2014
    as yet undetermined and evolving The FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act signed by the President authorizes construction of at least two modules provided the DOE DoD and military agree the modules would be in service by 2027 The single most robust result of the CRS study is that any such decision would be premature By way of background in late 2012 LANL wrote Congress regarding pit production requirements saying among other things Pit production to replace pits in the deployed stockpile due to plutonium aging is not required nor is it planned to occur The Government Accountability Office GAO in a study of plutonium infrastructure needs published last year recommended that the Secretary of Energy continue efforts to assess how plutonium research and other capability needs and stockpile requirements have changed if at all since the needs were revalidated in 2008 a finding with which DOE agreed The present CRS study is based on the 2008 pit production requirement which has been carried forward largely unexamined within government As the study notes this requirement was based in part on the expected capacity of LANL with the CMRR NF in place a logically circular process Studies by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory LLNL currently unavailable to the Study Group reportedly give a maximum needed capacity that is only half as much 40 pits per year vs 80 pits per year underscoring the study s primary conclusion Since the study began the perceived need for new pits has declined The first warhead Life Extension Program LEP that might have needed new pits the proposed W78 W88 interoperable warhead was indefinitely delayed in December at the request of DoD as many sources on Capitol Hill agree The other source of possible demand for new pits is the proposed new cruise missile Long Range Stand Off missile or LRSO warhead Dr Don Cook Deputy Administrator of NNSA for Defense Programs stated this month that this proposed warhead which was slated to enter full production in 2025 is now expected to first enter production in the 2025 2027 timeframe a significant delay also verified by other sources 2 There is no indication as yet that pit production is required for this warhead or any other The U S currently has more than 15 000 pits in storage at the Pantex nuclear warhead factory near Amarillo approximately 5 000 of which are being kept as a strategic reserve Thousands of high quality surplus pits are available for re use in their original configurations and selected other configurations their suitability for which was verified by full scale nuclear tests prior to the cessation of nuclear testing in 1992 The Pantex weapons assembly plant near Amarillo TX uses state of the art pit tomography equipment for this purpose installed by LLNL In 2010 the Study Group prepared a chart of the estimated pits available by type in both the deployed and reserve arsenals as well as in storage see p 19 of U S Plutonium Pit Production Additional Facilities

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_27Feb2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nayarit point of no return: Mexico conference marks turning point towards nuclear weapon ban, press release, 14 Feb 2014
    later this year in Vienna As you can see the momentum toward a ban of nuclear weapons has grown substantially just in this past week You may contact me by email until Monday when I will be back in the office at 505 265 1200 Or you may contact the ican team Please find their contact information in their press release below Thank you Trish Williams Mello Operations Director Los Alamos Study Group Albuquerque NM PRESS RELEASE For immediate release Nayarit point of no return Mexico conference marks turning point towards nuclear weapon ban 14 February 2014 Nayarit Nuevo Vallarta Nayarit Mexico The Second International Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons concluded today with a call from the Mexican hosts for states to launch a diplomatic process to ban nuclear weapons Over 140 governments participated from all regions of the world With a large group of countries calling for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons the meeting marked a turning point in the process to outlaw and eliminate these weapons of mass destruction Austria announced that it would host the next meeting in Vienna later this year The evidence is clear The impact would be horrific and we could not respond The risk of a detonation is significant That is why we have heard growing support this week for a ban said Liv Tørres Secretary General of Norwegian People s Aid We expect states to commit to negotiations at the next meeting in Vienna In his closing summary the Chair called for the development of new international standards on nuclear weapons including a legally binding instrument The time has come he noted for a diplomatic process to reach this goal within a specified timeframe identifying the most appropriate forum and on the basis of a clear and substantive framework Calling for this process to conclude by the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the Chair described Nayarit as the point of no return The meeting in Nayarit saw presentations from UN agencies renowned academics former military officers and the UK s Chatham House on the likely impact of a nuclear weapon detonation on the planet s climate agriculture human health and social and economic infrastructure Yet whilst other weapons of mass destruction chemical and biological have already been clearly declared illegal the same is not true for nuclear weapons In response to the evidence presented on humanitarian impact many states recognized the need to put in place a ban as the next step towards elimination A ban on nuclear weapons is long overdue and the conferences in Oslo and here in Mexico have created an opportunity for us to put it in place said Ray Acheson of WILPF States must take this opportunity when they meet in Vienna Civil society is already mobilizing to make that happen The Mexico conference is the latest step in a process that has changed the way nuclear weapons are discussed at the international level Since 2010 when states parties

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_14Feb2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • 146 states meet in Mexico to discuss humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons, press release, 13 Feb 2014
    number of states here in Mexico that there is global concern over nuclear weapons Civil society has been clear from the beginning that the only reasonable conclusion from discussions on the impact of nuclear weapons is that they must be prohibited and eliminated The Vienna meeting is the place for states to act on that conclusion There has been increased momentum over recent years to address the impasse on nuclear weapons At the first global conference of this new initiative on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons hosted by Norway in March 2013 international organisations concluded that there could be no adequate response if nuclear weapons were used either by design or accident The Austria conference will discuss how best to ensure that nuclear weapons are never used again by design miscalculation or accident Discussions are expected to consider frameworks for how to address the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons The announcement of this next meeting in Vienna indicates a willingness amongst states to move from a discussion about the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons to a discussion about what must be done to make sure they are never used again As Austrian President Heinz Fischer said during the High Level Meeting on nuclear disarmament last September Nuclear weapons should be stigmatized banned and eliminated before they abolish us Nuclear weapons are the only weapons of mass destruction that are not yet subject to a comprehensive international ban This legal anomaly must be addressed through a new international treaty even if the nuclear armed states refuse to participate at the beginning ICAN is calling on states when they meet in Vienna to commit to start work on a new legal instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons Nadja Schmidt of ICAN Austria said This is an opportunity for Austria to provide important

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_13Feb2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, press release, 12 Feb 2014
    is both needed and possible even without the participation of states that possess nuclear weapons WHO Delegates from more than 100 states as well as several UN organisations the International Committee of the Red Cross Crescent ICRC and representatives of civil society are expected to participate in the conference For a detailed programme please see here http www sre gob mx en images stories cih draftprogram pdf WHEN February 13 14 2014 WHERE The conference will take place is Nuevo Vallarta Nayarit Mexico For more information about the venue see here http www sre gob mx en index php date and venue The discussions will be streamed More information about the streaming will be provided Should you wish to be accredited please register at humimpactnayarit2014 sre gob mx CONTACT Daniela Varano International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ICAN daniela icanw org 41 0 78 726 26 45 nuclearban About ICAN The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ICAN is a global campaign coalition working to mobilize people in all countries to inspire persuade and pressure their governments to initiate negotiations for a treaty banning nuclear weapons It has 350 partner organizations in 81 countries and was launched in 2007 SPOKESPERSONS FOR ICAN Name Beatrice Fihn Available for In person and phone interviews only Short bio Beatrice Fihn manages the disarmament programme at the Women s International League for Peace and Freedom and the Reaching Critical Will project She is also a member of the International Steering Group of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons ICAN and supervises the Campaign s international staff team Beatrice monitors and analyzes many UN forums and processes related to disarmament such as the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty the Conference on Disarmament the UN General Assembly First Committee and the Arms Trade Treaty She has written extensively on disarmament processes and civil society engagement and has coordinated and edited many of Reaching Critical Will s publications Language English Swedish Contact information 41 78 613 04 72 beatrice reachingcriticalwill org BeaFihn Name Dr Rebecca Johnson Available for In person and phone interviews Short bio Dr Rebecca Johnson is Co Chair of ICAN and Executive Director of the London based Acronym Institute for Disarmament and Diplomacy A former senior adviser to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission and vice chair of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists she is also Vice President of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the United Kingdom and a special adviser to the Nobel Women s Initiative Language English Contact information 44 077 333 60955 Name Thomas Nash Available for In person and phone interviews Short bio Thomas Nash is Director of Article 36 a UK based non government organization doing research policy and advocacy on the humanitarian impact of different types of weapons He serves on the leadership body of ICAN As Coordinator of the Cluster Munition Coalition from 2004 to 2011 Mr Nash led the global campaign resulting in the Convention on Cluster Munitions He previously worked for the New

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_12Feb2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Los Alamos Study Group
    from the request in this bill without further explanation beyond the pit studies previously requested by Congress and additionally in this bill e g under Insensitive High Explosives in the Explanatory Statement For much more see our modular pit facility page The bill cuts funding for W78 LEP work about in half from 73 M to 38 M which funds are to continue to study options to extend the life of the W78 No interoperable warhead is mentioned Multiple reliable sources have told us that the administration has indefinitely deferred plans for its first interoperable warhead the W78 W88 LEP W88 Alteration 370 is fully funded See also Bulletin 180 Good news Obama s nuclear modernization plan is collapsing Los Alamos underground plutonium factory briefed fundraising drive continues Dec 7 2013 Bulletin 181 The National Nuclear Security Administration s NNSA s unfolding fiascos a teachable moment Dec 18 2013 W78 88 Life Extension could be deferred in FY2015 budget Nuclear Weapons Materials Monitor Dec 20 2013 The bill fully funds the B61 12 LEP but at section 312 pp 424 425 in the bill requires an extensive study of this LEP and its alternatives by April 1 of this year Either this study already mostly exists or it will be late No penalty is included for failure to submit this report in a timely fashion The bill ties the future of the megaton class B83 gravity bomb to that of the B61 12 The bill fully funds B83 support at 55 M but fences 15 M pending Nuclear Weapons Council NWC certification that the B83 will be retired by 2025 or confidence in the B61 12 stockpile is gained The bill rescinds 64 M in prior year unspent balances presumably from un reprogrammed funds left in the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility CMRR NF project which is now indefinitely delayed See this page for background The bill and explanatory statement are completely silent on CMRR NF and its successor projects and alternatives but as noted LANL plutonium programs are cut 20 from the request in this bill The bill at section 304 p 421 prohibits construction of high hazard nuclear facilities without independent oversight from the DOE Office of Health Safety and Security and also bars at section 305 DOE from making Critical Decisions CD 2 or 3 for construction projects exceeding 100 M in total cost without a separate independent cost estimate Notably the bill at section 319 pp 430 434 requires a Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories including the NNSA laboratories Its nine members are to be appointed by Secretary of DOE from a list of not less than 18 people supplied by the President s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology PCAST and they will have a very broad mandate of review including possibilities for reducing overhead consolidation and realignment Their report is due April 1 2015 Interestingly the bill at section 313 pp 426 428 provides authority over

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_14Jan2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • New study of nuclear deterrent costs, LASG press release, 8 Jan 2014
    cost overruns for Life Extension Programs LEPs which experience shows is necessary Prepared independently this new study concurs with and complements last month s important Congressional Budget Office CBO study compiling nuclear weapons costs over the next 10 years Projected Costs of U S Nuclear Forces 2014 to 2023 CBO 12 19 13 CBO concluded that nuclear weapons costs would total 355 billion B over the coming decade 2014 2023 fully anticipating today s 1 trillion 30 year estimate By 2023 currently planned modernization programs would still be ramping up and annual modernization expenses during the remainder of the 2020s would be about four times the 2014 amount or about 15 B per year in addition to sustainment and operations The CBO study was summarized in this Reuters article Study Group director Greg Mello Today s important study by these experienced analysts should shock members of Congress the Administration and the American people In our experience the authors are quite correct in their conclusion that disparate actors throughout the nuclear weapons establishment are independently making commitments and decisions without any real idea of what these decision imply for other budget lines and for the out years The authors will not shock the administration s staff or congressional committee staff however Today s nuclear weapons modernization plan is widely discounted in government especially NNSA s part No one knows what actually will happen but many parties have expressed to us their confidence that the present plan will not succeed and will be abandoned Some components are already being sacrificed to pay for others What today s study does not discuss are the many other ways beyond cost in which present plans are unrealistic To be conservative and because it is based on government estimates this study assumes these huge programs will be well managed In DoD some programs are well managed But in NNSA they seldom are Programs that are poorly planned and poorly managed and which stay that way as NNSA s programs have cannot be rescued just by adding more money NNSA s warhead business has tremendous structural weaknesses that will doom any attempt to simultaneously produce multiple new warheads for example In 2010 it was clear that the privatized U S nuclear weapons establishment through its own grandiosity and greed was fully vesting the U S in nuclear disarmament I gave a talk in May of that year to allied organizations in New York on just that theme This continues to be the case and the authors of today s study are beginning to say so as well As we said in December Bulletin 182 we can be confident the U S will not complete its current three decade modernization plan for nuclear weapons a plan that with sustainment and operations included might well cost extrapolating from these CBO results 1 trillion even if it were well managed and otherwise feasible It is however not well managed and there are no signs it will ever be Neither is

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/press_release_8Jan2014.html (2016-02-16)
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